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The Making of a Couture Invitation

What does creating a wedding invite from scratch entail? Here, the backstories to five bespoke sets, starting with a step-by-step account of how Lisa Hoffman, of Ceci New York, custom-made one for an Art Nouveau–loving couple.


1. Eve and Alphonso brought Art Nouveau posters to our initial meeting. Later we found some period drawings. They also wanted to incorporate elements specific to them—Alphonso’s in medicine and Eve’s a ceramicist, so we included the caduceus (a winged staff entwined with two snakes) for him, and a loose, arts-and-crafts feel to reflect Eve’s lifestyle. They wanted to illustrate that they were getting married at Chelsea Piers, too.”


2. “For the invitation, Eve loved the idea of creating a commemorative ‘poster’—something their guests could keep that was specific to them. We sketched two possible options. One focused on an illustration of koi fish, talismans of good luck and love as well as allusions to their love of water and their reception venue, which is located on the river. The other sketch was more about them. In the end we combined the two. They incorporated roses because they were using them in the wedding and because they recur in Deco floral patterns. To foreshadow the event to come, the groom bears the ring, and the two stand at a skyline-altar of sorts. In it is Pier Sixty, their wedding venue, as well as the Chrysler and Empire State buildings in all their glory.”


3. “We did mock-ups of three color palettes we liked. They chose green and plum. Originally Eve wanted everything in letterpress, but as we colorized the illustration of the poster, we realized we needed more depth. So we offset-printed it and letterpressed the rest of the suite. (Offset-printing is a more affordable technique than letterpress.) When you offset-print you can use every shade of the color. They chose a sturdy, uncoated paper, because they did not want a glossy finish.”


4. “We created many—ten, actually—versions of the invitation (the flipside of the poster). There are four different fonts—Euphorigenic, Bodoni, Rosecube, and Poppl-Residenz—and they are arranged in a sort of hierarchy that works seamlessly. Eve and Alphonso’s names have the fancier script (Poppl-Residenz Light), alluding to the formality of the wedding; their parents’ names are in Euphorigenic, which more noticeably keep to the Art Nouveau style. They liked the feathery, calligraphic swirl, which I got from a library of vintage calligraphic ornaments.


5. “The stamps were designed to match the invites. In this case, Eve wanted to introduce orange instead of repeating plum and green everywhere. At their wedding, she carried an orange bouquet, Alphonso wore an orange boutonniere, and their centerpieces were all purple plums and greens to fit the stationery color scheme.”


Photographs by Davies + Starr. Scrapbook art courtesy of Lisa Hoffman.

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